Pour Les Oiseaux - Black Raven Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Pour Les OiseauxPour Les Oiseaux

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

85 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 85
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.39%
Wants: 12
Gots: 11 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Black Raven Brewing Co. visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beertunes on 02-18-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 85 | Reviews: 24
Reviews by dirtylou:
Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, split

appearance: served in my hopleaf tulip - pale copper-orange body, a light layer of white foam but little retention

smell: green apple, grape skin, a touch vinous

taste: Not sure about this one - an odd bready base, grape skins and sour green apple, very musty yeast, light touch of brett, some white wine vinous notes.

mouthfeel: dry finish, very light

overall: well crafted but missed the mark for me

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to whomever brought this to the tasting group. Pours a nearly perfect straw color with excellent clarity. A brilliant white head foams up quickly and settles almost just as fast. Funk is the first thing to hit the nose, and it's no surprise, given how the bottle makes it clear that brettanomyces are used. The funk comes off slightly corky and mostly barnyardy, like wet wood and hay. Lots of fruit in the aroma, as well; pears, light peaches, apple slices, white grapes - it almost has a slight champagne or white-wine smell to it (aside from the brett, of course); very crisp and clean, appears to be highly-carbonated.

Taste is crisp and refreshing as expected. White grapes, pears, apple skins, and a handful of light funk (lighter on the palate than on the aroma, for sure). Some corky notes, but again, not as heavy as they were on the nose. This one carries a big oak barrel taste cascading in the background and lasting from nearly start to finish. Borderline tart in the middle, with a spike of fruits and flavors that hits like a white wine. Surprisingly, I'm picking up some light cinnamon in the aftertaste, right along with a fading fruity sweetness and another small touch of brett. Hops are mostly hidden, slightly musky and peppery, but I may just be grasping at straws here. Medium bodied with heavy carbonation.

Solid saison that drinks almost more like a wine or champagne than a beer, at least as far as the flavor profile is concerned. The bretts make a nice appearance without being overdone and the barrel aging added a whole new element. Lots going on here, but very well put together and tasty when all was said and done.

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Eric for sharing this one!
Quick review from written notes.

Bright gold with an initial head of fluffy foam settling to a thin skim afterward.
Clarity is sharp and there are visible trails of carbonation around the edges.

Oaky sandalwood, lightly floral aroma, mild dried pineapple sweetness.

Tart and fruity apricot, slightly bitter with loads of dry, gripping oak. Big time buttery chardonnay barrel. Spritzy carbonation, smooth feel. Dry tannic aftertaste. Finished my first pour and had a little more. This was great stuff.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with active carbonation and a finger hight fine white head constantly renewed by carbonation. Aroma of spicy light pear and apple juice, saison yeast and a hint of lemon. Flavor of light grape, green apple, pepper; finishes slightly dry with oak and a light brett touch. Very understated but well integrated with light flavors that fit together very well and a nice oaky aftertaste. Light bodied with a refreshing mouth feel from the active carbonation. Nicely made saison, the light touch of brett is perfect in this ale for me.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to G311 and Damico for this one. Served in a mini tulip.

Pours a nice golden color with a pretty good white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some background Brett and earth notes along with some yeasty spice and a touch of white grape. The flavor adds in a bit more grapes with some nice earthiness through the finish. Fairly dry and crisp. Really nicely done.

Photo of Rifugium
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had a recent Philly 'burbs bottle share.

Golden pour, shockingly pristine clarity, with a solid cap of foamy white head; nice retention and lacing. Fruity esters in the aroma, toasted wheat, grass. Taste was pretty light and crisp, essence of apple and grape skins with a twinge of tartness, barnyard funk, herbal hops, lightly toasted cereal grains. Light-bodied and dry, easily drinkable, pretty nice overall.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle and opened it on 6.11.12.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, honey yellow with a half inch white head made of large bubbles, then fades in half.

S - Citrus lemon, Bret and Funk, some subtle spice.

T - Lemon to orange to bread with some Bret in the background the entire time. Finally, a buttery finish.

D - Good carbonation and a light body.

O - Mild tartness wrapped in citrus and spices, a good showing from BR.

Photo of draheim
3.49/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A local saison aged in French oak white wine barrels with the addition of Brettanomyces? On the label this beer sounds like it was brewed with me personally in mind...

750mL into a tulip. Pours a clear, pale straw color w/ a disappointing head, about half a finger after a pretty aggressive pour. Lazy carbonation rises from the bottom of the glass. We're not starting well here.

Aroma is lightly funky: green apples, pears, wet hay. Floral Belgian yeast, white wine. Noble hops. Interesting.

Taste is pretty grainy right off the bat. Wheat malt, sweet white wine grapes, floral hops. More pear, some nice oak too. Can't quite get past the coarse, grainy, minerally quality, although to be fair it mellows a bit as the beer warms and breathes. Hints of crushed aspirin and Alka-Seltzer too.

Mouthfeel is relatively flat, lackluster; definitely a disappointment for a saison. Medium body.

Overall, I have to say I'm let down by this beer. Especially considering the lofty promise of a wine barrel-aged saison, which may have set my expectations unrealistically high, this one fell a little flat.

Photo of zeledonia
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to try another bretted saison, though I'm curious what the wine-barrel-aging has done to this one. Thanks to wsucoug96 for the bottle. Tasted 5 August 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a clear golden yellow, a tinge of apricot. Two-finger white dense, sponge-cake head. Good retention, relaxing to a thin layer, but not much lacing. Inside the glass looks like confetti raining up, there's so much carbonation flowing.

Smell starts out with musty yeast, but that soon becomes an undercurrent as slightly sweet white grapes come flooding through. It's a little more wine than saison in the nose, but the saison soul is definitely yeast-forward, pungent and earthy. I like it.

Taste is more balanced, more like half semi-dry white wine and half saison. The white grapes are still quite potent, though they're certainly drier here than in the nose. Brings earthy flavors, but a noticeable burst of spice, followed by a light wash of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is as it should be - medium-bodied, though it feels slightly lighter once it hits the tongue. Fuzzy carbonation, and lots of it. Drier finish than many saisons (something I like about this beer).

I'm using a lot of liquid words here, and that's fitting - lots of things flowing through, coming and going in gentle waves. Nothing rough about it, all the different elements slowly mixing and churning. Quite tasty, though I'd like it more if it were a little less vinous.

Photo of artoolemomo
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a very good amount of head which looks to have pretty good retention as well. The head is a pure, cotton white while the body is a murky, pale straw which shows hints of hazy, golden and lemon yellow. Considerable lacing has already been left behind.

Nose- Strong fruit esters from the bottle with the most dominant aspect being apple- a mix of green and red with light notes of cherry and strawberry in the background. The glass has much more delicate notes and shows a mix of green apples and pears. Not all that complex but it has great presence and integration. I'm digging it. Slight white wine grapes around the edges.

Taste- Starts with some hay and grassy notes that build into a slightly phenolic middle of ash, cloves, and slight woody bitterness from the oak. The oak shows more on the finish alongside with a good amount of earth and white wine grapes. The fruit esters of the nose appear throughout the flavor profile but don't have the presence that they did in the aroma. This doesn't seem to be an easily decipherable beer as I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet. Definite apple, some pear, with citrus notes hanging around the edges- lemon, lemon peel, and orange which seem to move into coriander. Some funk from the Brett starts to appear and gives off more hay and some woody mushrooms. The phenols and the Brett attributes give it a little bit of abrasiveness that would seem to be at odds with the overall delicate nature of this beer but so far, it seems to be working. The dry finish really helps to tie this beer together and not allow anyone aspect to linger too much. This is a really good beer that has the slightest hints of greatness. Some cracked pepper around the edges as well.

Mouthfeel- Fairly lightbodied with little carbonation. Delicate to the point that it almost seems airy. The dry finish works well with the woodiness on the end.

Drinkability- Extremely easygoing as a result of its very light mouthfeel and understated complexity. This doesn't it mean it's boring, it's simply refined. 13-14 bucks seems like an okay price for a barrel-aged saison but I don't know if I would buy it again.

Overall- Seems to be a mix of two different types of saisons- the light and airy crisp saison that you reminds you of DuPont and the more phenolic type of saison that reminds me of many tripels. It's almost like you're getting two beers in one and normally this would be a bad thing but it works here. Just above a really good beer and definitely worth a try.

Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer on-tap at WABL Belgianfest 2013 in a snifter taster glass.

Appearance: quite clear; a light gold, almost yellowy hue with a tiny bit of haze and a very light effervescence and a low ivory head.

Smell: the aroma has a nice vinous aroma with a little bit of Brett funk. Sweet, bright and nice; quite like a white wine.

Taste: not nearly as tart as the aroma might suggest. Sweet, but not too sweet; when the tartness falls off toward the end, it definitely has a good white wine character. Subtle, but intriguing.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and a satisfying creaminess. Quite good.

Overall: this beer seems pretty straightforward; it's complexity is there but it's subtle. It definitely seems to have picked up some character from its white wine barrels. This beer really rubs me the right way.

Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter. The brew appears a clear golden yellow color with streaming bubbles supporting a 2 finger white froth. Some webby strings of patchy lace stick to the glass.

The aroma includes notes of clove and white grape juice. Quite vinous with slight tropical feel about it. Some sulfur and grass evolves as it warms up.

The flavor is a bit boozy with tropical fruit and herbal to grassy hops. A slight lemon rindy sort of bitterness balances things out.

This is a medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest to sprity amount of carbonation. It is crisp and light but the overall drinkability suffers a bit from the boozy feel. It is surprising how boozy and warming this is for the list ~7 abv. Certainly worth trying.

Photo of AlexFields
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very yellow with a thick pure white head, very nice appearance.

Smells of brett and wine; more subtle notes of wheat malt, grapes, spice.

Taste is lovely and balanced. Good amount of tartness and brett complexity, but none of the metallic flavors brett sometimes produces; brett doesn't dominate. Wheaty saison malt bill provides a really nice foundation, wine barrels add plenty but don't dominate. Hints of grape, apple, and spice. Pretty complex but extremely well balanced between everything that's going on.

Mouthfeel is odd. Plenty of bubbly carbonation but somehow the beer feels a little flat underneath it. Not terribly detrimental though, this is still easy to drink.

Overall a lovely beverage, exactly my kind of beer. Excellent balance.

8.6/10

Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives with a clear golden color and a sturdy head; sheets of lace are left behind

Smell: Tart apple, cinnamon and other spices, barnyard funk

Taste: Opens with a tart apple character, with the herbacious and barnyard elements picking up by mid-palate; the Brett flavors build, after the swallow, and the vinous flavors wrap up the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Nice and refreshing, with the Brett and the wine barrels adding complexity

Photo of ihazabucket7
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice light white wine color. You get the white wine barrel right away in the nose. Also you get the fruits very sweet smell. Taste was opposite for me. Very earthy, spice, and you get the white wine barrel taste. Very balanced and it sneaks up on you! Cheers loved this beer!

Photo of Treebs
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Matt (mfavoino) for sending this guy my way. 750 ml bottle served in a Lost Abbey teku glass.

A: Pours a dark gold color with a pure white head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly to a thick cap and leaves some splotchy lace behind.

S: Definite white wine presence up front. A subtle white grape tartness with a green grape and yeasty sweetness. Mild peppery yeasty and smooth oak. The Brett is pretty subtle in the nose, but it's there.

T: There's the Brett! Big funkiness, some wet hay and a little blue cheese up front. Smooth oak, light white grape tartness and some pale malt sweetness on the finish. The yeast is in there ever so slightly with some fruity esters and middle clove, but the wine barrel and brett are the main stars here.

M: Light bodied with a clean and dry finish. Nice medium-high carbonation level.

O: I really liked the addition of the Brett and the barrel aging, although I feel like the base gets a tad lost. Overall it's a very nicely crafted BA saison and wouldn't turn it down in the future.

Photo of TotallyHosed
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BabyTree.

The color is golden orange, but perfectly clear. The clarity reveals active carbonation. It poured with a small head that shrunk to a splotch. Very little lacing.

The aroma is mainly funky hay. The barrel is very difficult to detect, but this is because the two aromas seem to blend perfectly.

The flavor begins tart and funky, but accented with some of the barrel's tannic bitterness. The flavor ends with a very nice vanilla note.

The feel is bright, tingles the tongue, but thin.

Overall, I enjoyed this aged saison by Black Raven. The result is excellent and one of the best barrel aged saisons that I've tasted. Appearance would have scored higher if not the for the short head retention. Also, I prefer a saison with a heavier mouthfeel. However, the nose and flavor of this brew compensates.

Photo of beertunes
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a cloudy yellow, not quite the color of pineapple juice, with about an inch of white head that had moderate retention and good lacing.

The aroma had a strong apple scent at first, which gave way to to a nice spicy yeast aroma. That apple scent translated into a slightly vinegary taste at the front of the tongue. Across the middle and back was a tart spicyness with a hint of yeast. The beer finished with a nice, dry tang on the very back of the tongue.

The body was pretty typical for the style, perhaps a little more lively than most. Drinkability was very nice, even better if you like your beers dry. Overall, a very decent example of the style. I suggest trying this as quick as possible, because I believe it has limited availability.

Photo of RedDiamond
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I asked about the pronunciation on that third word and was told it's "WHA-soh". So Pour Les Oiseaux means, "for the birds." Though it's not overly potent, Black Raven serves this specialty saison in 12-oz. tulips. It is clouded golden with a peppery aroma and characteristic Belgian flavor of sharp, exotic spice. Oats and rye malt lend dryness, body, and a wall of arrogant lace.

Brilliant Belgian spice esters dominate, and though the beer is smooth and informal, it's ultimately piquant, peppery, and sharp. It's also sophisticated, lean, and worthy of sustained acquaintance.

Photo of ryanjgamache
2.62/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wasn't the beer for me. Sour

Photo of snaotheus
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with foil over the cap; split between two chalices. Served at 41 F. This listing shows 6.8%, but my bottle shows 7.2% abv.

Pours clear golden with a slight bronze hue, very little head, lots of carbonation. Smell is fruity, sour, funky, very nice.

Taste is surprisingly crisp, slight bitter, lots of hay, refreshing and tasty, but not as interesting as the smell. Strong funkiness.

Mouthfeel is still, medium bodied. Overall, this is good. I like it.

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour Les Oiseaux (French for "For the Birds") is a wonderful example of the Saison style, and what a good canvas it can be for any number of treatments. Black Raven Brewing out of Redmond, Washington provides a nice description on the back of the bottle:
"Pour Les Oiseaux is a blend of complex earthy, fruity, and light tannic flavors with a crisp and refreshing finish. Brewed with barley, wheat, rye, and oats for a golden color and lightly spiced malt flavor. Earthy hay and wild yeast aromas mingle with light notes of Washington wine grapes.
Pour Les Oiseaux is aged in French oak white wine barrels with the addition of brettanomyces."

I decided to use a Goose Island Vintage glass for this beer. I will warn anyone opening this beer that it may gush a bit when you first open it. I have had it chilling for a week, so I imagine that if you don't get the beer cold, you would have significantly more overflow. Luckily not much was lost. This is a common occurrence when using brettanomyces to ferment your beer.

It surprisingly does not possess a massive carbonated head, but is rather timid after the gushing is over with. An egg-shell white head tops the hazed golden body. It settles to a finger thick pillowy layer, eventually dissipating by the end of the glass. Some light sticking is apparent on the side of the glass, though not much.

Even when opening the bottle, I could smell the brett and vinous nature of this beer. It has almost an apple cider vinegar quality to it. Light aroma, nothing very strong. Earthy notes mix with hints of green peppercorn, doughy malt, and green grape skins. The oaky smell comes through prominently, and reminds one of an oaked chardonnay.

The flavor hits the palette with a complex, sublime mix of tart apples, hay, pear skins, and finishes with a warmth from the French oak that lingers and lingers into the aftertaste. Really a wonderful mix of flavors that is complex and yet very refreshing. The barrel-aging brings this beer to another level, and the brett yeast dries out the palette, and lightens the body, creating this wonderful, summery saison that would stand on its own against the world best saisons.

A very impressive offering from Black Raven Brewing Co. Well worth tracking down if you can. I know that I will be trading for more. The beer is right on the mark for a saison, and the treatment that they give it with the brett and the extended aging on French oak white wine barrels is a massive improvement on the base beer. It's funny that this is called "for the birds," as that's typically an expression when describing something worthless. This beer is hardly "pour les oiseaux."

Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I found the Pour Les to be one of the best examples of how to impliment barrel aging, especially on a style that usually doesn't get that treatment (at least that I can think of right now). Most barrel aging is with liquor/spirits that I've found tend to hit you over the head with the booze taste and just leaves the beer for dead.

This saison is done with wine barrels (white) that leaves a great subtlety of taste and almost sweetness in the end product. It works WITH the beer to make a new, more intense, and unique taste and take of saison. One of my favorites as I try it more and more.

In closing, take a trip to Black Raven and get some Pour Les Oiseaux for yourself, as well as other offerings. BR is always trying new ingredients and new takes on traditional styles.

Photo of TwoTrees
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

'Try this beer', quoth the Raven.

Well, don't mind if I do...

Pour Les Oiseaux is, simply put, a gorgeous blend of vineous tart grape, buttery oak, and the perfect amount of barnyard funk. All of this is wrapped up in an almost champagne-like mouthfeel that, while different than most brews, offers some real varietal enjoyment. Like peanut butter is to maple syrup, the brett is present (but not overpowering) and stands as a unique companion to the chardonnay like qualities of the spiced malt. It drinks very easily...too easily. The first is gone and I'm wishing for another...

Bottom line: If you see it, pick it up. Because someday it may be...nevermore.

Pour Les Oiseaux from Black Raven Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.